We are being advised to reduce our Carbon Footprint. Discuss the significance of this for the individual and for Industry.
By: Frances Lagan
We often hear a lot in the media and in schools about how we must reduce our carbon footprint to help fight global warming. Do we really understand what our carbon footprint is ant what effects it is having on the world? A Carbon Footprint is a measure of the total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced directly, also know as primary footprint, and indirectly, secondary footprint, by an individual, event or an organisation (1). To put it in simply terms – the more we buy the more emissions will be caused on our behalf. There are six different Kyoto protocol GHG’s, all of which are considered when measuring the carbon footprint. Many of these occur naturally such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methene (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N20), whereas others such as Hydroflurocarbons (HFC’s), Perfluorocarbons (PFC’s) and Sulphar Hexafluroide (SF6) result exclusively from human industrial processes (2). These are all atmospheric gases that act as a shield to trap heat radiation that is emitted from the earth’s surface; they lower the atmosphere and these results in causing positive radioactive forcing, which mean they enhance global warming (3). Many of these gases are essential to life on earth by providing a blanket for marine and terrestrial organisms. Without these gases the earth’s temperature would be too cold. However, when their concentrations rise they contribute to global warming to such an extent that they would make the earth unbearably hot.
Global warming occurs when the incoming solar energy is greater than the energy going out. An indication of this would be a gradual increase in the earth’s average surface temperature, this is currently 58 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius),...